I abruptly woke up at 7 AM to the buzzing of my daily alarm in my ear. Hitting the snooze button a couple of times I eventually dragged myself into the shower. Coffee in one hand, iPhone in the other, I pause to think for a moment. What would happen if I couldn’t be connected or reachable all the time? But, how would I use my underground pass with such ease? Or what about those late-night Uber rides? My obsessive phone checking traits surely cause me more harm than good.
Okay. It’s true. I will accept I am a tech fan and I tend to try everything that has an inbuilt battery, but I will also accept that I became a technology-dependent person — which is the reason I decided to make some small changes in my life to improve my personal wellness. Since I try to promote well-being in others, I should start with setting an example, right?
Recently, at work, we bought one of these uber cool Amazon Echo hands-free speaker powered by a nice lady called Alexa — an intelligent personal assistant who was supposed to make our life easier. And to be honest, it was the perfect excuse to play some jams at the office when we closed a deal. We do have a gong but playing “They see me rollin’, they hatin’ ” was indeed more appealing.
Apart from randomly playing by itself some Eastern-European radio stations where we couldn’t understand a word and eventually learning the folklore of Lithuania, Alexa was amazing and amusingly cheeky. So, giving my inquisitive nature and obsession for variety, I bought a Google Home instead — which apparently had an even better voice recognition. Personally, I couldn’t spot any difference but the fact that Google Home looked like a neat contemporary air freshener created by some Swedish designer, was a winning choice.
After reading “The Sleep Revolution” by Arianna Huffington combined with a couple of insomnia episodes that made me go to the office with a stunningly fresh smile on my face (Is this real life?), I contemplated the idea of leaving all my gadgets outside my bedroom once and for all.
“ In today’s fast-paced, always-connected, perpetually-harried and sleep-deprived world, our need for a good night’s sleep is more important — and elusive — than ever” — Arianna Huffington.
— OK, Google. Set up an alarm at 7 AM. — Alright!
Oh, wow. That was easy-breezy. I didn’t even need to have my phone on my bed table reminding my brain to scroll throughout my Facebook’s timeline and checking at 12 AM this friend’s —from high school that I didn’t see in 15 years— trip to Greece pictures. I am starting to love my new and friendly talkative air freshener.
— OK, Google. Play my “Relaxed” list on Spotify. — Alright!
I always enjoyed being in bed listening some relaxing music before hitting the sack — which so far entailed using my phone to play songs and unconsciously jumping into the spiral of texting friends and overindulging Social Media—. Once again, I didn’t need my phone either. So far so good.
— Hey Siri, launch the Breathing app for Mindfulness.
Before you say anything: yes, I do have an Apple Watch. But hey! before taking it off my wrist and having activated the flight mode, this Apple Watch cool app with some kind of flower-opening movements helps me to relax with a deep-breathing exercise. After that, time to turn it off.
— OK, Google. Play BBC News radio. — Yes Sir!
My morning routine changed completely with the single note of waking up without using my phone. Having a shower, getting dressed and enjoying breakfast listening to the news sipping on that espresso was this new routine that I wanted to keep on doing. It made me more energized, seemed fancy and even boosted my mood!
I recently read on Thrive’s Instagram account a quote by the model Bella Hadid where she stated the following: “I no longer check my phone when I wake up. I think that’s why sometimes you get off to a bad start in the morning, when you start your day with that energy”.
And it’s completely legit. From checking my phone at 7 AM and starting replying to Whatsapps, wondering who liked my last Instagram picture of a cake or raising an eyebrow at this breakdown of emails that I have left to read (do people work on Sundays?), I switched into a slightly healthier routine: checking my phone on my way to the office and reading my emails when I sit on my desk at 9 AM. Fair enough.
Note that I also started practising some mindfulness exercises before going to sleep and rediscovering again one of my old and forgotten very best passions such as reading a good book in bed. Needless to say, my geek self also found out our beloved screens emit blue light —which inhibits the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms— making it harder for us to fall asleep.
Sometimes we need to disconnect to make a connection.
I am not saying that Artificial Intelligence works to all of us in the same way but I can advocate It’s definitely worth a try. In 15 days I notably improved my unstable and sporadic sleeping patterns, woke up in a better mood and I felt healthier, happier and more energetic whilst learning how to disconnect and relax.
Namasté, and good night.